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This Visit by Susan Lewis reviewed in Poet's Quarterly

  

Review: The Visit by Susan Lewis


Mary Kasimor
This Visit
Susan Lewis
BlazeVOX
Paperback, 104 pages
978-1-60964-169-6
http://www.blazevox.org/index.php/Shop/new-releases/this-visit-by-susan-lewis-384/

In Susan Lewis’ latest collection of poetry, This Visit, she informs the reader of the paradox of being alive in the poem, “Severence:” “the world too beautiful/despite these flaked years.” She repeats this throughout the book, reiterating her passion for existence through metaphors and sleight-of-hand magical language. Lewis creates a landscape of language that shifts meaning and then doubles back to remind the reader of what her main intent is in this collection. I believe that a poet writes from a sense of urgency; that is, a poet looks for the source of life and the meaning of life by writing poetry, and Lewis is accomplishing that in this book. She writes these poems as means to explain and explore the complexities and the fragility of human existence. She explains the inevitable in the poem, “My Life in Microbes:”


But (you say)
      some of my best friends are—

to which I nod:
      decay


It is a simple response to read and enjoy This Visit as a book that is filled with word play, puns, and intellectual maneuvers. However, there is much more to this collection of poetry than one finds in the first reading. Lewis gives the reader a sense of urgency in her poems, even as they come across as being delightfully clever. There is a seriousness written between the lines of these poems, and Lewis is very serious in her intentions in This Visit.


Lewis’ title, This Visit, suggests that someone is going to or has gone “to see” another place on this earth or in someone’s psyche. It can be agreed that we are merely “visiting” the earth and that our visits are temporary and may be occasional. As humans, we try to hang onto life as we know it and as we see and experience it with as much surety as possible. But regardless of our urge and desire to stay, it is only temporary. We try to convince ourselves that we will continue to live forever, and we posture and present ourselves in that way. Lewis tells us this in the poem, “My Life in Sheets:” “strapped & / balanced/ in their come-hither / wrappers, misconstrued & /moribund, mould’ring in / chat chat chat…” As humans, we are firmly entrenched in the idea of always being here, on this earth, but as humans, we also have memory, and we realize that is not how existence continues. It discontinues and is tenuous and fleeting, and it is not at all secure and eternal.

Read the whole review here 

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The Color Symphonies by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Rebecca Reads

 

The Color Symphonies
Wade Stevenson
BlazeVOX Books (2014)
ISBN: 9781609641757
Reviewed by F.T. Donereau for Rebecca’s Reads (9/14)

5 stars Universes Colors Running Through Deep Layered Poems

When I first realized Wade Stevenson's book of poetry, “The Color Symphonies” would use the world's colors as a motif running throughout the collection, I wondered how, without straining too hard and breaking the thing, it might be possible to accomplish this feat, manage to find ways to keep it interesting and bring forth ideas in poem after poem, while adhering to such a self imposed restriction. The collection, after all, runs two hundred and eighty-four pages. Imagination and heart are wonderful advantages though. When the creative mind is engaged, and a deep flow, a wide-open vision, is at hand, bright lights can be left on the page, landing from any number of angles.

The triumph of these poems is, indeed, the imagination and heart of Mr. Stevenson. There must be a well-tended core to any poet, if he or she is going to be able to grab hold of a reader's mind and soul and make them feel. Here we have works of art rendered with brushstrokes similar to a great painter. Colors explode forth in almost every piece, splashing the eye and engaging the senses. Luckily, they are not one note wonders, all feeling and no substance. The author builds descriptive layers that, at least seemingly, lay down tangible place settings. The esoteric rides over these works. But also, there exists the concrete. It is a feat not often accomplished, but still yourself a moment and read these lines: “Orange is dying and it roars.” “Just don't stand there like a pig/routing your snout in a slimy/ under-water hardly good enough for the fishes.” “A sudden surge of black,/tornado vortices, a web/of powerful deep lines...” Tremendous. Full. Visceral. A poetry of shimmering worlds, alive at the side of your vision. Yet solid too, the sense of earth and human endeavor coursing in them. The poet that cuts both ways, making you stand up and see.

There is something of the novel to Stevenson's “The Color Symphonies.” You feel at the end, as if you have been told a story. Beauty. Color. The human soul. It is laid alive here. You understand a little more about your everyday walk upon the earth after coming to the end of this cycle of poems. I think you will be intensely aware of your surroundings, the depth of life on earth, after taking in Mr. Steven's Symphonies. Because we're a fallible animal, the gist of such won't last. The great blessing though, is that these poems don't fade upon the touch. You can return to them, as I have, read them over again, ingest them anew. Each time brings a new color to the pallet. More resides between the web of lines on each page than a first reading allows you to know. It is a pleasure when a poem can give you more than one answer, one sensation. Here, Wade Stevenson manages to do it again and again. Open your heart, your eyes, and your ears. Dive in and enjoy.


Check out The Color Symphonies by Wade Stevenson here

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Two fine reviews of Kristina Marie Darling's Requited

Two fine reviews of Kristina Marie Darling's Requited

 Book Review: Kristina Marie Darling's Requited
by Georgia Kreiger
In her characteristic style, Kristina Marie Darling blurs the already tenuous lines we draw between literary genres in her book Requited. Composed of a series of thirteen prose poems appended by an epilogue consisting of fragmented images, the book is defined by Darling as a work of fiction and includes the conventional disclaimer regarding coincidental resemblance to actual people and events. A concluding note reveals that lines are borrowed from two primary texts.   These authorial remarks prompt us to search for a narrative progression in a book that is simultaneously poetry, prose, and fiction, and that, like an academic essay, includes synthesized material from primary sources.  




Read more at Split Lip Magazine here

Preview or Buy a copy of Requited here 
The Infoxicated Corner: Lisa M. Cole Reviews Kristina Marie Darling’s ‘Requited’

 
Requited: Poetry as a Truth-Telling Mechanism

The effectiveness of Kristina Marie Darling’s book Requited lies in its ability to remind readers that it is human nature to crave to be what we are not. To crave what we don’t have. Darling treats poetry as a truth-telling mechanism. This is a book that is aware of itself, its truths, and how it wants to tell them. The self-referential nature of this text urges the truth to make itself known. It enables the use of poetry as a truth-telling device, and reminds the reader of fundamental truths.

The book is the chronicle of a couple’s relationship, and their eventual parting. We begin the story in a garden, which might be a nod toward to the Garden of Eden, and what it symbolizes for us: a clean slate; new beginnings; fresh starts. Gardens and forests are so richly associated in Western literature with emotional truths, and the unfettered psyche. This trope was a clever one to utilize for the story of a romantic relationship because this draw that humans have toward the new, the fresh, the undiscovered, is what makes new relationships so intoxicating, but it is also what makes the end of relationships so difficult, because in breaking up with someone we acknowledge that a part of our innocence has been irrevocably lost.

Read more at The The Magazine here

Preview or Buy a copy of Requited here 

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Reflections of Hostile Revelries by Jennifer C. Wolfe Reviewed in Savay Verse and Wit

 

Reflections of Hostile Revelries by Jennifer C. Wolfe


Source: Poet Jennifer C. Wolfe
Paperback, 108 pages
 

Reflections of Hostile Revelries: A Collection of Political Poetry Musings by Jennifer C. Wolfe is another collection of political poetry ripped from the headlines, as the narrator comments on the mistakes made by our political leaders and political campaigns gone wrong.  These poems read more like critical essays, rather than verse, using a narrative prose style that grabs a headline and picks it apart with a fine-toothed comb to unveil the unsupported facts of today’s political platforms and the flip-flopping of candidates eager to please the masses.  She covers topics ranging from immigration enforcement to the “nanny” state laws, and some of these poems are hilarious in their re-appropriation of pop culture.

Read the whole review here

Explore this book here

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The Color Symphonies by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Midwest Book Review!

 
The Color Symphonies

Wade Stevenson
Blazevox Books
9781609641757      $16
www.blazevox.org 
 
Books on synesthesia are typically nonfiction accounts of the ability to 'feel colors'; but to have a literary, poetic work packed with descriptions integrating colors with characters and life is truly a horse of another color. Perhaps equating The Color Syphonies with Proust's flavorful writings would come closest; but even then, Proust is relatively inaccessible to all but the most literary follower - and The Color Symphonies is eminently accessible.
 
Like a delicious ice cream, bits of color flake off in the mouth and leave pleasing impressions with every bite: "In the playful day/jets of light were launched,/the white spaces shuddered,/there was dazzling cobalt blue/fused with windblown yellow./You begin to hear colors/you never thought would speak."
 
Biographical accounts have attempted to explain the perceptions and sensations of synesthesia; but few have truly succeeded… until now, it seemed one must be one of those rare individuals to 'feel color' or even understand descriptions of such a feeling.
 
The poems in The Color Symphonies are like a blind man learning to see for the first time: they bring with them an extra dimension of perception and, for just a moment, take readers along on the journey that is synesthesia: a heightened sense of color perception that integrates color with sound and movement to create a symphony of extrasensory impressions.
 
Wade Stevenson's words are delicately wrought and deftly capture the flavors and sensations of all kinds of light - even that which lies between in the realm of neither darkness or light: "It's not darkness or light,/it's not grey either,/doesn't come close to being/any known form of blue/It lies above the garden and the chairs,/unlike a fog it doesn't obscure/objects or dissolve them from sight"
 
It's rare that a poetic work can be recommended for that fellow artist, the painter or capturer of colors. Usually wordsmiths and painters are separate creatures, each striving to capture the color-haunted world in a different manner, with different tools.
 
Here the synthesis comes together - once more, a symphony of color - and invites the fellow artist working in another medium to come on in, sit down, and partake.
 
The language of colors, their interactions, and their presentation all come to life in a collection where colors are the main characters, assuming the vibrant words of a canvas and interacting with calls and responses in the world that contains them, keeps them from spilling, merges and dissolves them, and simply dances.
 
A good poetry collection describes. A better poetry collection captures. But a superior work absorbs, dissolves, recreates, immerses, and then dances … such is The Color Symphonies. There's simply quite nothing like its animated free verse and light-filled perspective, even in today's overloaded poetry genre.
 
D. Donovan, e-book reviewer for Midwest Book Review

Read a preview or buy this book here 

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